There is no way to prepare for the tempo that the University of Louisville defense will face when it takes on Kentucky and the Wildcats' "Air Raid" offense on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
The Wildcats want to get up to the line quickly and run a number of plays to wear the defense out and not allow certain substitutions. They ran it to perfection last weekend when they totaled 675 yards of offense and 41 points in the first win of the Mark Stoops era - a 41-7 demolishing of Miami (OH).
Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford knows that his defense has a big challenge with a pace that the Louisville defense hasn't seen this season.
"The biggest thing is the speed of the game," Bedford said after Wednesday's practice. "They go so fast. Neal Brown wants to get a play in every 10 to 15 seconds. That's hard to defend. It's hard to get ready for. Our team is in great shape, but it takes two or three series to get used to the speed of the game."
Another concern facing Bedford and the rest of the defense is the two-headed attack from the quarterback position. The Wildcats rotated a pair of signal callers last week in Max Smith and Jalen Whitlow. Smith threw for 310 yards and Whitlow was 10-of-12 for 103 yards, but he also rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown.
"It's very difficult to prepare for two quarterbacks," Bedford said. "You have to have two different defensive schemes to get ready for them. One quarterback can throw it really well. The other quarterback is a decent thrower, but he is an outstanding runner."
The Cardinals saw Smith last season in UofL's 32-14 win over the Wildcats at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Whitlow started the opener against Western Kentucky, then went to a platoon system last week against the Red Hawks.
The rotating quarterbacks will be something that concerns head coach Charlie Strong, who is 2-1 versus UK since arriving from Florida.
"The challenges are you have two different quarterbacks or two different styles. (Maxwell) Smith and then you look at (Jalen) Whitlow," Strong said. "(Maxwell) Smith is more of a thrower and (Jalen) Whitlow is an athlete who can run and throw the football. They change them up. You look at the last game. (Maxwell) Smith started them off, then (Jalen) Whitlow came in. They went back and forth. Having two quarterbacks can create some issues for you if you don't get aligned."
Kentucky ran 74 plays in the win over Miami last week and the Cardinals' coaching staff knows the Wildcats will look to go even quicker this week.
"The thing about it is they are on the ball quickly and they run a lot of plays," Strong. "They try to put pressure on the defense. What they want to do is get up on the ball and try to wear you out and wear you down."
The Cardinals, who consider themselves to be in great shape, will have their hands full with the pace and dealing with the noise from an intense UK crowd. However, with a lot on the line in this heated rivalry game, no tempo should be too fast for a team whose aspirations are as large as the seventh-ranked Cardinals.